Before school starts, I want to share some book suggestions. The following is a compiled list of books I personally use in my classroom to ease separation anxiety and discuss feelings during the beginning of the new school year. There are many other great books out there, but I only wanted to recommend ones that I have a personal connection to. Enjoy!
You Go Away by Dorothy Corey
As Amazon puts it, “this is the classic of all separation books”. I have used this book many times in classrooms. I think it is particularly useful for twos as the concept and text are extremely basic: You go away, and then you come back!
Owl Babies by Martin Waddell
I read this book every year during the first week of school, as children inevitably find something in it they can connect with. The story is about three owl babies who wake up on night to find their mother gone. Worried, they wonder if she will ever return. In the end she lets them know, “I always come back.” This is what we tell our students, that your mom and dad will always come back to get you. I also love this book because I have a large paper tree hanging from one of my classroom walls and as we read this book, my kids and I like to imagine that the owl babies live in our tree.
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
This book reminds me of the Goodbye Rituals I suggest to my class families. In this story a mother raccoon comforts her child who is apprehensive about starting school by giving him a very special kiss in the palm of his hand. Whenever he starts to feel lonely or worried at school she tells him all he has to do is press his hand to his cheek to feel her kiss. If this is a book you read at home often, you could consider using this same technique as your goodbye ritual!
Will I Have a Friend? by Miriam Cohen and Ronald Himler
Someone recently pointed out to me that this is one of the few separation books that features a child with his father, instead of mother. For that reason alone I should recommend it to families and other teachers. But beyond that, it is another simple story about first day of school jitters.
Do you have any favorite books to ease separation? I’d love to get some new recommendations! Feel free to comment below.